Dad, can I have a Sugar Mama?

When I talk to my son, I try not to give him stereotypical parent-speak in reply to his questions. My hope is that he will learn to put thought into his words rather than repeat the things he hears most often, just to keep his voice prominent in conversations. This is the goal, but sometimes it is difficult to avoid backsliding. Sometimes, I find myself uttering phrases to him that are so hackneyed they could have been written in Hollywood.

We had a few people visiting our house. They were all unmarried, young adults. Our guests discussed among themselves the topic of whom they each were, or were not, dating. Since my son and I had little to add, we played while the grown-ups were talking. I didn’t think my son was paying any attention to the discussion, which means he drank in every word of it.

The next day, we had to drop my wife off at the home of one of our erstwhile visitors. After my wife exited the car, my son asked me, “Who lives here?”


“Who’s Jill?”

“Remember the blonde-haired lady who was at our house yesterday?”

“Oh. That’s Jill?” There was short pause, followed by, “Daddy, do you think I should date her?”

After picking my jaw out of my lap and replacing it onto my face, I told him, “No.”

“Why not?”

This was my fatherly moment of truth. I could have used it to have an intelligent discussion with my son. I might even have taught him something. Let’s examine the options.

Intelligent thing #1 I could have said, but didn’t:

“Do you know what it means to date someone?”

This might have produced a meaningful discussion about relationships. Once he learned that dating has been known to lead to kissing, he would have thrown himself into reverse.

Intelligent thing #2 I could have said, but didn’t:

“Because four-year-olds, even if they are four-and-a-half, don’t date anyone.”

This would have allowed me to explain that, at his age, playing in the dirt is so much more fun than dating would be. Moreover, even as an adult, he would have dates when he wished he could just walk out and go fling himself into a dirt hole.

Mud puddle crew

“Wha’d’ya say fellas? Should we go back to our dates or fling ourselves into this hole?” (Image: John Vachon/U.S. Farm Security Administration)

And the winner is . . . . .

Trite thing I blurted out without thinking:

“Because she’s old enough to be your mother.”

Every grown woman on Earth is old enough to be his mother. That doesn’t concern him because the boy has no idea what age has to do with dating. He doesn’t know the difference between dating and saying hello. I might as well have told him not to say hello to Jill because she’s old enough to be his mother.

It made that much sense, and yet I said it.

And he accepted it.

“Who should I date then?” he asked.

“Someone your own age, when you’re much, much, much older,” I said.

And we left it at that.

Mending pants

Don’t get tangled up with an experienced woman. She’ll only string you along.


99 comments on “Dad, can I have a Sugar Mama?

  1. You’re a good dad! I’d have probably said something like she has a big ass or she’s 30 something and single for a reason, son!

    What you say about them kids soaking everything in when you think they’re not listening is sooooo true! It’s fun to hear them say things and then try to trace back to the conversation where you believe they picked up whatever asinine thing it was they just said.

    • I just assumed she was too busy to meet quality people. That’s what they say on all the dating website commercials. And it’s on a commercial so it must be true.

      Kids should come with a warning buzzer that goes off whenever they are picking up something they are sure to embarrass you with later.

      • sedrate says:

        Yes they should come with that buzzer. My son picked up the word “stupid” at school and promptly tried it out on his younger sister. One lovely day we’re out for a family walk and my daughter says at the top of our voice as we pass a fellow walker “Mommy, is dat lady STUPID?”

  2. Lynette says:

    This is epic and awesome!

  3. dalo2013 says:

    Agree, epic and awesome… The wonders of youth!

  4. stacybuckeye says:

    Well, at least he knows not to date much older women when he gets to date!

  5. What are the chances your son will repeat your “trite thing” next time he sees Jill? Think of all the other things you could have said that would have been far worse.

  6. Reblogged this on sensodalin069 and commented:

  7. That is so cute, I love it!

  8. haha…your son is smart…and he did leave you tongue tied….it is funny but i hear ya!!!
    congratulations on being freshly pressed

  9. lalarukh1 says:

    Aww your son is cute…I appreciate your concern about him. Loved reading it. I don’t have child yet but I guess I would have to face the same….Kids are love !! Give a kiss to your son from me 🙂 Take care xx
    Check my new blog at

  10. Your a pretty awesome father

  11. Mike Crape says:

    Great piece, love your “being dad skills”. Well done and thanks for sharing.

  12. Cute! Very cute!
    No wonder you replied the way you did. A four year old? Dating!? But children come up with things like that and we are only human and respond by giving not very clever answers.Sometimes. So we are not perfect but in the eyes of our children we are. (Almost). If we always had a wise answer to offer we might come across as too perfect even for our children. And back to your answer: what is wrong with it? The woman in question IS old enough to be his mother and I am pretty sure your son knows more about dating than you think. After all, he is four and a half ;-).

  13. made me smile today! Thanks.

  14. itsjustjaco says:

    great writing!

  15. bdh63 says:

    Your son is a hot ticket! I love that expression. My daughter is 4, and is always following around the boys her brothers bring home. She is more worried about them stealing her toys than dating, though. 🙂

  16. Haha this made me laugh. A truly Fresh post!

  17. Ashley says:

    That is the single most brilliant thing you could have said, truly LOL.
    You sir, are awesome.

  18. marymtf says:

    The reason that phrases are so used they become hackneyed is because they’re so good. There’s nothing stopping you from using it then in a year or two following up with the other, more intelligent things. Because at four, of course, the attention span is limited.
    As for the other, how do you think children learn how to speak? They’re picking language skills well before they start speaking. The reason for that, is so that the parents don’t spell out words they don’t want their children to understand. Children are much smarter than we give them credit for. 🙂
    Terrific post. Not enough daddy posts.

  19. Karen Rice says:

    Aww, this was sweet. 🙂

  20. sheenmeem says:

    I like your reply.

  21. You made me smile today lol.

  22. swapnaraju says:

    To understand children is very difficult…and it makes more difficult to make them understand what you think. Its a very good post and meaningful too.

  23. Magdalene says:

    You are so smart and witty!! I laughed so much as I read your article because it is hilarious…. from the eyes of kids. You handled it beautifully. Well done.


  24. […] Dad, can I have a Sugar Mama?. […]

  25. monica923 says:

    There are never smooth moments to parenting. Besides the things you “should” have said are never as good or heartfelt as the ones you actually do. My son asked me, at the tender age of 6 while out having lunch together, about sex…what did Mommy do? I pulled out my pen and drew the reproductive system on a napkin. He has never forgotten. I have never lived it down.

  26. greenie says:

    I’m taking notes from this, since I plan to be the best dad ever, to counteract my dad’s misdeeds.

  27. I can only see myself saying something much worse to my own son

  28. stormy1812 says:

    haha love this! kids really do soak it all up and it makes life interesting. im not a parent but i’ve heard some awesome stories from my friends who have kids and i worked at a charter school for a couple of years. they really keep you on your toes. seems to me the good news is that at age 4, there is still plenty of time to have that talk and to “correct” how you approach it (thought i’m not being remotely critical of your approach). it’s hard to think on your feet and that particular question could have stumped anyone. 🙂 thanks for sharing.

  29. Got to laugh, kids are so funny even when they are being themselves. As parents there will always be those moments where we have a list of possible replies/answers to the questions asked by our children……. which reply to use is often the hardest question to answer.

  30. Sarah Harris says:

    Haha, I love and can relate to your line: Sometimes, I find myself uttering phrases to him that are so hackneyed they could have been written in Hollywood.

    I have learned when I’m shocked by whatever they’re asking for clarification on to simply ask them “What does it mean to you?!” It buys time to collect my jaw off the floor along with my thoughts, and when I realize that to them Sex means giving a girl a kiss, it saves me from a long speech that will have us both squirming!

  31. Nimi says:

    Is there ever a right or a wrong answer? Yours did the job for the time being.
    The point is you never know what your son got out of that conversation. The perspective of kids are really shocking at times 🙂 Do let us know if there are any follow up conversations.

  32. I love this! I think it must be difficult to always be able to say the correct thing to your kid in the right situation. I have a godson and he is always asking me things I don’t know how to answer, I try to be as honest (with discretion) as possible but sometimes I just blurt out the most random things like one time he asked me why we couldn’t go to the park (I was very tired and enjoying a conversation with his mother) and I just said “Because of quantum” and he totally dropped the matter. I like to think that my inherent quirkiness will add depth to his character as he grows up, but I do worry that it might turn him into ‘that weird kid’.

  33. “Wha’d’ya say fellas? Should we go back to our dates or fling ourselves into this hole?”

    Love this part!

  34. sourcookies says:

    That was very cute!

  35. ken noorita says:


  36. Thanks for sharing your blog keep on sharing

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